Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/30

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him a letter which Naomi had written. He took it and gave the letter to Ni'amah, who at first sight knew her hand and fell down in a swoon. When he revived he opened the letter and found these words written therein: "From the slave despoiled of her Ni'amah, her delight; her whose reason hath been beguiled and who is parted from the core of her heart. But afterwards of a truth thy letter hath reached me and hath broadened my breast, and solaced my soul, even as saith the poet,

"Thy note came: long lost hungers wrote that note, * Till drop
     they sweetest scents for what they wrote:
Twas Moses to his mother's arms restored; * 'Twas Jacob's eye-
     sight cured by Joseph's coat!"[1]

When Ni'amah read these verses, his eyes ran over with tears and the old woman said to him, "What maketh thee to weep, O my son? Allah never cause thine eye to shed tears!" Cried the Persian, "O my lady, how should my son not weep, seeing that this is his slave-girl and he her lord, Ni'amah son of al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and her health dependeth on her seeing him, for naught aileth her but loving him.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian cried out to the old woman, "How shall my son not weep, seeing that this is his slave-girl and he her lord, Ni'amah son of al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and the health of this damsel dependeth on her seeing him and naught aileth her but loving him. So, do thou, O my lady, take these thousand dinars to thyself and thou shalt have of me

  1. "And he (Jacob) turned from them, and said, 'O how I am grieved for Joseph' And his eyes became white with mourning. … (Quoth Joseph to his brethren), 'Take this my inner garment and throw it on my father's face and he shall recover his sight.' . . . So, when the messenger of good tidings came (to Jacob) he threw it (the shirt) over his face and he recovered his eye-sight." Koran, xii. 84, 93, 96. The commentators, by way of improvement, assure us that the shirt was that worn by Abraham when thrown into the fire (Koran, chaps. xvi.) by Nimrod (!). We know little concerning "Jacob's daughters" who named the only bridge spanning the upper Jordan, and who have a curious shrine tomb near Jewish "Safe" (North of Tiberias), one of the four "Holy Cities." The Jews ignore these "daughters of Jacob" and travellers neglect them.